Art is a major political weapon of our times. Today, peoples around the world use art to boost their own identity and to attack the ways others represent them. At a time of increasing intercultural exchange, art has become a primary means through which groups reinforce their challenged sense of culture. This pioneering book breaks with the tradition of the anthropology of art as the depoliticized study of aesthetics in exotic settings. Transcending artificial distinctions between the West and the Rest, it examines the increasingly significant relations among art, identity and politics in the modern world. Among the themes investigated by the contributors: * how African painters undermine racist stereotypes yet remain dominated by the Western art market * the role of anthropology museums in the perpetuation of the Western market in 'tribal art' * the internal and external political disputes underlying the 'repatriation' of cultural property.
"Here we have an interesting collection of new ethnographic studies examining the nexus between art, politics and cultural identity.. . . Economically priced, well indexed and adequately illustrated, Contesting Art makes a fine contribution to the growing literature in this field." --Canberra Anthropology
"[This book] finds its unity by focusing on the use of art as a means of creating and affirming identity in multicultural contexts. . . [an] excellent book." --American Anthropologist
"Contesting Art is written in a lucid style which makes it accessible and useful. It is also noteworthy for examining Western art anthropologically, not only focusing on societites outside the West." --Ethnos
"The range of questions raised here is astonishing and the controversies are endlessly provocative." --Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
"Important and interesting issues of art, empowerment, and advocacy in a changing and increasingly interconnected world....Contesting Art is written in a lucid style which makes it accessible....It is also noteworthy for examining Western art anthroplogically, not only focussing on societies outside the West." --Ethnos